Predictably Irrational

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Description

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions

By Dan Ariely

ISBN13: 9780007256532

RRP $26.99

 


Synopsis

  • Why do our headaches persist after taking a cheap painkiller but disappear when we take a more expensive one?

  • Why does recalling the Ten Commandments reduce our tendency to lie, even when we couldn't possibly be caught?

  • Why do we splurge on an expensive meal but cut out vouchers to save twenty-five pence on a tin of soup?

  • Why do we believe that if an item is "free" it must be a bargain?

  • Why is everything relative, even when it shouldn't be?

  • How do our expectations influence our actual opinions and decisions?

When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control.  We think we're making smart, rational choices.  But are we?

In a series of illuminating and groundbreadking experiments, behavioural economist Dan Ariely demonstrates how expectations, emotions, social norms and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.

Not only do we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day, but we make the same type of mistakes.  We consistently overpay, underestimate and procrastinate.  We fail to understand the profound effects of our emotions on what we want, and we overvalue what we already own.  Yet these behaviours are neither random nor senseless.  They're systematic and predictable.

Predicatbly Irrational brilliantly blends everyday experiences with a series of illuminating and often surprising experiments, that will change your understanding of human behaviour.  From paying for coffee to losing weight, and buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, Ariely explains how to break through these systematic patterns of thought to make better, more financially sound, decisions.

Predictably Irrational is not simply a fascinating read; it has the power to change the way we interact with the world - one small fecision at a time.  In the current economic crisis it is an invaluable tool that no person should be without.


About the Author

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioural Economics at Duke University, with appoitments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Department of Economics.  He is also the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and a visiting professor at MIT's Media Lab.

Over the years he has won numerous scientific (but not teaching) awards.

Dan wrote this book while he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

His work has been featured in leading scholarly journals in economics, psychology, and business, as well as a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Scientific American, and Science. He has appeared on CNN and CNBC, and is a regular commentator on National Public Radio.

He currently lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his amazingly patient wife and two lovely children.

 

Review

Predictably Irrational is a highly entertaining and light-hearted look at how our decisions are influenced by emotions and social norms, how easily we are confused when presented with multiple options, the irresistable lure of free offers, and varying types of dishonesty.

Dan Airely writes in a humorous, conversational style and presents his studies and findings in easy to understand language which will be enjoyed by academics and non-academics alike.

Predictably Irrational is utterly fascinating and a must read for all consumers - not just marketers and business people.  You will be surprised by some of the findings and will recognise the behaviours described both in others and within yourself.  Above all else, you will become more aware of the forces that influence your decision making and hopefully less likely to succumb to the clever gimmics used by retailers.

 

 

Reviewed by: Franciska

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